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Consumer Spending and the After-Tax Real Interest Rate

In: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation

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  • N. Gregory Mankiw

Abstract

This paper examines the interaction between consumer durable goods and consumer non-durable goods in determining the responsiveness of total expenditure to the after-tax real interest rate. The introduction of consumer durables into the consumer's decision problem can have important effects on the interest elasticity of total spending. The channel highlighted here might be called the "user cost effect," in that the after-tax interest rate enters the implicit user cost of consumer durable goods. Even if a consumer has a one-period planning horizon, possibly because of a binding borrowing constraint, the user cost effect may nonetheless make his spending highly interest sensitive. Finally, the paper examines the response of the level and composition of consumer spending to the high real interest rates experienced in the early 1980s.
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Suggested Citation

  • N. Gregory Mankiw, 1987. "Consumer Spending and the After-Tax Real Interest Rate," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 53-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11345
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-346, April.
    2. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    3. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-265, April.
    4. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-544, September.
    5. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-481, March.
    6. Firouz Gahvari, 1985. "Taxation of Housing, Capital Accumulation, and Welfare: a Study in Dynamic Tax Reform," Public Finance Review, , vol. 13(2), pages 132-160, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Dacy & Fuad Hasanov, 2005. "The Rate of Interest or the Rate of Return: Estimating Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution," Macroeconomics 0510012, EconWPA.
    2. Pindyck, Robert S., 1993. "Investments of uncertain cost," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 53-76, August.
    3. Martin S. Feldstein, 1999. "Capital Income Taxes and the Benefit of Price Stability," NBER Chapters,in: The Costs and Benefits of Price Stability, pages 9-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Fiscal policies, capital formation, and capitalism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 399-420, April.
    5. Erik Canton & Ed Westerhout, 1999. "A model for the Dutch pharmaceutical market," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(5), pages 391-402.
    6. Fuad Hasanov, 2005. "Housing, Household Portfolio, and Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Macroeconomics 0510011, EconWPA.

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